After an overtime goal lifted the Cavaliers over No. 5 North Carolina last year, Colin Briggs and Adam Ghitelman were named the ACC's top offensive and defensive players of the week. Now, Briggs and Ghitelman will lead the No. 6/7 Cavaliers against the No. 9/10 Duke Blue Devils in Durham, a team the Hoos have struggled against in recent history.
Last year's win in the ACC Tournament over Duke broke an 8-game losing streak against a Blue Devils team that just seems to have UVA's number. Even with the ACC Tournament victory, Duke managed to take two of the three against last season against Virginia, defeating the Hoos 13-9 in the regular season and 14-13 in the NCAA Tournament. Prior to last year, Virginia had only scored in double digits once seven tries, while Duke scored fewer than double digits just once.
There's nothing to suggest, as far as I know, that any of the players won't be playing for any violation of team rules. Of course, there's still over 24 hours before the game, which is plenty of time for one of these guys to mess up.
Junior defender Matt Lovejoy, however, is still out with an arm in a sling as a result of a separated shoulder. It's estimated that he still has five more weeks with the sling, meaning he will miss the remainder of the season.
The winner of this game will be able to call themselves the ACC Regular Season Champions, a distinction held by Duke for four of the past six seasons.
The Duke offense is led by senior Zach Howell, who has 32 goals and 11 assists for 43 points to his name. Steele Stanwick, by comparison, leads the Hoos with 44 points (23 goals, 21 assists).
While the Virginia offense is the best in the land, at 13.18 goals a game, there's nothing to scoff at with Duke, which averages 12.42 goals a game and is fourth in the country.
I'd be prepared to see a good ol' fashioned shoot out between these two teams, both of which give up more than nine goals a game and have questions to answer on defense.
Could this be the year that the Hoos win a regular season matchup in Durham, a feat that hasn't been accomplished since 2003? Tune in to ESPNU at noon on Saturday to find out!